Balmain Jolie Madame : Perfume Review

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Meeting Balmain Jolie Madame for the first time is an encounter that leaves one intrigued by the unpredictable personality of this beautiful stranger. The dazzling shimmer of the green floral notes has a lighthearted character, however as soon as one is ready to see a smile of its dewy heart, the veil of leathery smokiness falls darkening the gentle features.

Yet, predictability is not the quality that Germaine Cellier’s creations possess. One of the most avant-garde perfumers, she worked against the classical tradition by exploring the raw materials that most perfumers of her time would reject for their crude potency and strength. She was not afraid to overdose Balmain Vent Vert with galbanum, which made the fragrance seem as if it were exploding on the skin into the cascade of emerald dust. The original version of her Bandit possessed so much animalic robustness, it seemed almost shocking to wear in public. …

However, despite the fascination with extremes, Cellier could create beautiful compositions of remarkable grace. Jolie Madame is such an example—a ravishing sister of buccaneer Bandit, its silky layers hiding Bandit’s leather chypre accord. The intriguing tapestry of hesperidic, floral, woody and mossy notes that is the hallmark of the chypre fragrances has a rich quality of patina covered bronze.

An exploration of Jolie Madame is like a journey, with the scenery changing unexpectedly. Falling into the remarkable lushness of the heart, one discovers that its verdancy hides a surprisingly dark and creamy touch. A swirl of white petals and one emerges into the radiant glow that oakmoss and amber cast upon the base. The dry warmth of the base spreads slowly, seductively tender and surprisingly assertive.

The backdrop of smoky leather dispels any misconceptions about Jolie Madame being merely pretty. It balances out its powdery facets, creating a composition of interesting contrasts. The animalic darkness sets Jolie Madame apart from most of the feminine fragrances that tend to enjoy success at the moment. Certainly, it is a child of its time, however its complexity and sensuality are quite appealing.

Since its birth in 1953, Jolie Madame has received quite a few facelifts that left it rather altered. Warmth vanishing from its formerly sensual oakmoss and leather steeped base led its lovely face with a wry smile to attain a mask-like quality. The dewy florals losing themselves in the verdant foliage that characterized the original version are instead replaced with the brighter aldehydic top laced with green violets. My initial reaction upon experiencing the new version was an intense disappointment, although I have to admit that the drydown is more interesting than I originally thought, even if it is undeniably paler and less complex than that of the original version. It does not seem to attain enough depth before the fragrance begins to fade.

Notes include gardenia, artemisia, bergamot, coriander, neroli, jasmine, tuberose, rose, jonquil, orris, patchouli, oakmoss, vetiver, musk, castoreum, leather, civet. Jolie Madame is fairly easy to find online from a number of discount stores. The modern fragrance is translucent beige and comes packages in a rectangular bottle like the one depicted on Perfumemart website, while one of my bottles purchased five years ago is filled with ambery liquid and is packaged in a bow embellished bottle with rounded shoulders. The vintage bottles produced between the 50s-70s are identical to the ones shown in the advertisement.

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

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59 Comments

  • parislondres: Wonderful review dear V! I do love this fragrance and a very dear friend sent me a huge decant and a bottle of the parfum which is simply gorgeous.
    I treasure both of these bottles.

    Hope you are well. 🙂 January 17, 2006 at 3:15am Reply

  • Evan: Jolie Madame’s great stuff, at least the old bottles. One used to be able to get vintage bottles fairly cheaply, but lately there’s been a surge of interest on eBay for them (the same with Crepe de Chine) and they go for fairly high prices.

    I’ve only smelled the very recent version once and I remember it being a little thin, a little simple, like your description of it wearing a mask. Actually, a lot of heavily reworked perfumes remind me of b-grade actors in cheap television biopics doing passable impersonations of great, dead stars. Cabochard is certainly like that, as well as Vent Vert whose new Becker formulation seems too transparent. I wonder who reworked Jolie Madame? It seems that all of Cellier’s perfumes got sent to charm school and had their funky, dangerous wild edge replaced with something a bit demure and polite. Some were too wild to tame very much (Bandit), but some sadly knuckled under, like this one. January 17, 2006 at 5:08am Reply

  • Laura: I remember smelling the original Jolie Madame when I first plunged into perfume a few years ago. I didn’t have the experience to understand it or appreciate it. Now, I’d fare better, I think. So much to take in in this stunning review. January 17, 2006 at 5:58am Reply

  • Judith: I decided to see if you would pick my fragrance today (by reviewing something I have), so I am now wearing vintage Jolie Madame parfum. It’s quite beautiful; I love the leather in this one! Thank you for the inspiring, complex review. January 17, 2006 at 6:40am Reply

  • Sisonne: V, it´s always a pity when the original version of a perfume is changed, because as you pointed out, new isn´t always better…
    I don´t know the vintage version nor the new one, but of course I´m willing to test either of them when I can 🙂
    Germaine Cellier is a very interesting woman, I think. In my opinion it takes a lot of personality to create such extraordinary fragrances. I just wonder why today a lot of people only seem to be interested in scents that are rather simple & “well-behaved” – sorry if I sound like a snob 😉 January 17, 2006 at 7:00am Reply

  • Anya: Another Balmain to try. The vintage Miss Balmain and Vent Vert I acquired in the past few months have opened my eyes (and nose) to the style of this house, and I like it a lot. Any idea who created Miss Balmain? I’ve searched and can’t find the perfumer. January 17, 2006 at 8:40am Reply

  • Marina: I have not tried Jolie Madame yet, but now I really want to. Germaine Cellier truly rocks 🙂 As does this review 🙂 January 17, 2006 at 10:10am Reply

  • Liz: Dear V:

    I smelled Jolie Madame recently – quickly, on a scent strip – and found it disappointing, a rather obvious floral aldehydic. Sigh. Yet another Cellier vintage I have to chase down, I guess?

    I also picked up a bottle of what I was assured was vintage Vent Vert, but I’m not convinced; maybe you can help me decide if it’s new or old? I get a strong lemon-basil accord – my beloved galbanum doesn’t jump out at me.

    I am exhausted by reformulations. In 30 years, do we have a watered-down Muscs Koublai Khan to look forward to? I shudder at the thought! January 17, 2006 at 10:55am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dear N, thank you. I agree that the parfum is simply stunning. I have a vintage mini of parfum, and I treasure it. Despite the passage of time, it is really well-preserved. January 17, 2006 at 11:00am Reply

  • kyahgirl: Sounds like an interesting fragrance V. Challenging.

    I hate it when they reformulate scents though. 🙁

    Laura January 17, 2006 at 11:44am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Evan, I think that your comparison is very spot on. Of course, reformulation is such a tricky issue–what to do if the ingredient was found to be toxic, what to do if the commercial base is no longer available, etc. However, there are case when the fragrances are reformulated carefully and others when they are not done so well. Jolie Madame was made too pretty and in the process it losts its character altogether. January 17, 2006 at 12:07pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, I would imagine that you might find it interesting, although I do not know if it is the most wearable fragrance for you. Unfortunately, the recent version is so pale, lacking colour and vibrancy. January 17, 2006 at 12:13pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: J, I am glad I picked the fragrance you have. Jolie Madame parfum is truly wonderful, and since I love Bandit, I find Jolie Madame beautiful as well. The floral element works perfectly with its base, softening the impact of leather. January 17, 2006 at 12:14pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: C, I wonder how popular the leather chypre genre was in the 50s. I understand that chypre was popular, but whether these more aggressive leather chypres enjoyed the same success is another story. The gourmand elements were always favoured. I suppose that I do get tired of everything smelling like a cookie, even though once in a while it can be nice for a change of pace. January 17, 2006 at 12:17pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: A, I agree, Balmain fragrances are very well-done, except that most of them were reformulated and the current versions are simply nowhere near the beauty of the originals. Very sad. Miss Balmain was created by Harry Cutler, but I do not know what else he has done. January 17, 2006 at 12:18pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, thank you. Cellier was an outstanding nose, and her iconoclastic style makes me want to experience as many of her creations as possible. January 17, 2006 at 12:20pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Liz, sometimes I wonder if it is better not to have a fragrance at all or to have a pale copy of it. Seems that in some cases the outcomes are comparable…

    The original Vent Vert should not have an obviously lemony-basilic burst. Sounds like you have the new version. What did the bottle look like? The bottle with the polka dotted top is definitely the new version. January 17, 2006 at 12:22pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, it is an interesting interplay of sensations, which is completely missing in the new version. I am with you. The very word reformulation is enough to make me fear that my favourite is altered to the point of no return. January 17, 2006 at 12:24pm Reply

  • marchlion: It sounds ravishing. Would you compare the vintage in any way to Chanel Cuir de Russie? Thanks. January 17, 2006 at 12:26pm Reply

  • Liz: Eh, I suppose it’s new then. Oh well. It’s certainly not horrible and might be nice to splash on in hot weather.

    I will say, in praise of reformulations, that I love Femme’s raunchy cumin note. I said on MUA that it smells like Mitsouko accidentally stumbled into an erotic novel. I haven’t smelled the original, but I do think the reformulation is a good perfume, if not the same great perfume Femme once was. Which, again, I haven’t smelled. Horror of horrors, I haven’t smelled vintage Bandit either. 🙂 January 17, 2006 at 12:26pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, Cuir de Russie seems more well-behaved, with more pronounced iris note, which is not obvious as well in Jolie Madame. Cuir de Russie is also drier. Jolie Madame is more animalic and warmer, a little bit more uninhibited than Cuir de Russie. January 17, 2006 at 12:28pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Liz, I agree, it is pleasant in the hot weather. I just regret that it is original character was not preserved.

    The original Femme was a very sensual chypre, with a note that resembled sugared plum and yet it was not anything you would imagine eating. It was full of curves and richness. I would admit that it can be very difficult to wear though. The new one is still very sensual, with the cumin notes amplifying the warm skin effect. I like both versions.

    Arpege is another one that was reformulated quite successfully, in my opinion. It is different from the original, yet it was reformulated in its spirit. January 17, 2006 at 12:32pm Reply

  • Robin: V, It is something I cannot decide myself — whether it is better to let a fragrance fade into obscurity, or reformulate so that it stays on the shelves. Sometimes I think best to reformulate but rename in some way so that the customer knows they are not getting the original. Vent Vert, for instance, I like the modern version better than the old, but it seems wrong to try to pass it off as a Germaine Cellier creation when it is so different from her original conception. January 17, 2006 at 12:40pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, you are hitting right on the issue that I have with reformulated fragrances. In some cases, it is not they are worse than the originals, but they are different. Comparing the two would be unfair. Just like Vent Vert, the old and the new. If I take an objective look at the new one, I find it very well-done and easy to appreciate for its breezy, gentle character. However, you are right–for all of its lovely qualities, it is not a creation by Cellier and it does not bear her mark. Just like passing the new L’Interdit for the fragrance that Audrey Hepburn used to wear. January 17, 2006 at 12:49pm Reply

  • Michel: i’m happy you talk about this one because it’s the first perfum i’ remember:it was the perfum of my mother and i realy loved it, in my child memory i’remember a very mature fruity odeur very deep, now she use 2 from Détaille.
    I don’t know the new version but i know “vent vert” and his history but even when it was create it was very revolutionnairy because of the galbanum over-dose
    It ‘s very easy for the new owner of this old Label to chose in the great formulation and to ask “do the same lighter, younger,( au goût du jour) and cheaper of course ! January 17, 2006 at 2:45pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Michel, the scents of childhood memories are so precious. My mother used to wear Diorissimo, and I still have a soft spot for it.

    Au goût du jour indeed! For instance, Chanel No.5 and Arpege were reformulated over the years, however in my opinion they did not lose as much as some other fragrances that underwent reorchestration. January 17, 2006 at 3:51pm Reply

  • Michel: dear victoria, you’re right and i agrea with you.La maison chanel is an exception because it’s a family firm and the heirs are very respectious about the spirit of Gabrielle Chanel and her spirit of quality and the more important le n°5 has always be very successfull Arpege too, the reformulation is because of the annimal ingredient , isn’t it ?
    About balmain
    – no more HAute Couture
    – the “pret à porter( ready to wear)”line is mediocre
    bad choice of designer however they are so many !?
    – no guest accessories
    For the moment the great periode of Balmain is over…Infortunatly !but some big firm like Dior don’t hesitate to reformulate in a bad way too. January 17, 2006 at 4:29pm Reply

  • Michel: i forgot to precise that LVMH is often behind … January 17, 2006 at 4:34pm Reply

  • stefania: I discovered Jolie Madame quite recently, in the EDT version, which is the only one available in Italy.
    I’m a big fan of leathery-chypre fragrances (I wear bandit and cuir moresque), so I found the combination of violets and leather in JM very interesting, but the floral top notes were a little too sweet for my tastes, plus it seems to fade really quickly on me. I’m sticking to my bitter,dark and wicked bandit! January 17, 2006 at 5:15pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, it is hard to be a part of a large company, and probably even more difficult not to! January 17, 2006 at 5:34pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Stefania, sounds like you tried the modern version. I agree, I would rather wear Bandit. January 17, 2006 at 5:35pm Reply

  • carmencanada: Oh, V., I’m so sorry not to have sniffed Jolie Madame in its original version (yet?). I’ve recently fallen passionately in love with Bandit (the violent EdT version) and would be overjoyed to smell her sister Cellier creations.
    Bandit, from what Thierry Piguet told me (he’s Robert’s great-nephew) has recently been re-re-formulated in accordance with the original formula. The “new” vintage Bandit bears the label: “Certification. C’est la formule originale pour Bandit créée par cette compagnie avec Robert Piguet pour l’introduction du parfum en 1944” (translation: Certification. This is the original formula for Bandit, created by this company with Robert Piguet for the introduction of the perfume in 1944).
    The label is signed Michael Carlos, president of Parfums de Givaudan.

    That said, I agree with Michel about Balmain: unlike Rochas who signed on talented young designer Olivier Theyskens to rejuvenate the house (he was quite inspired by Femme’s flacon), Balmain has somehow trudged on while hiring various very different designers. Now that Oscar de la Renta (not exactly a synonym of modernity, but a very talented couturier) has retired, the brand has no clear sense of direction. Though, it their case, LVMH has nothing to do with it… January 17, 2006 at 5:38pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: D, I believe that the certification was also necessitated by the appearance of fake Fracas. At one point, I recall that being a problem. I think that the problems of many fashion houses is poor brand management. For instance, Gres and Carven were among the fashion legends at one point. Unless one has a special interest in fashion, I doubt many would know about them right now. January 17, 2006 at 5:53pm Reply

  • Suzy Queue: I yearn to try the original Jolie Madame. The modern one is all I know, and I like it very much. The leather and the violets have an interesting relationship. I really enjoy it on a breezy spring day. January 18, 2006 at 12:06am Reply

  • annE: Dear V,
    I’m so sorry I missed this yesterday, but I feel I must chime in, even at this late hour. The vintage Jolie Madame is one of my very favorites; you’ve gone straight to the heart of the fragrance in your description (as always)!
    On the topic of reformulation, I agree that it is a shame. Sometimes, I suppose, a reformulation is unavoidable for the reasons you mention, but most of the time it seems to be the whims of the day, as Michel wrote. The new version, while nice enough, is a pale imitation. And on one point, I must disagree – my beloved Chanel No. 5 appears to me as a ghost of its former self. It’s just not the same.
    And L’Interdit! The new one is an entirely different fragrance – not even close! As you said, I don’t think it would be so bad if the companies didn’t try to pass them off as the same thing if extensive changes are made. They should at least have the decency to re-name them as well. And they should read your blog for a little marketing inspiration. 🙂 January 18, 2006 at 10:17am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Suzy, I believe that there are actually several modern versions, because the one from a couple of years ago is still very nice (albeit, toned down). The newest one I have tried is just very pale, not much either leather or flowers. January 18, 2006 at 2:22pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ann, thank you for your thoughts–it is never to late to chime in! 🙂 I would wholeheartedly agree that Chanel No.5 is a ghost of its former self, although it has suffered perhaps less under the reformulation than some other fragrances. At least, the parfum is still available, which cannot be said of other classics. It used to be formulated with nitromusks, which are now considered toxic, however there are very few passable substitutes, therefore I suppose that changes are inevitable. I have some No.5 from various decades (the earliest I have is 30s, the latest is 90s), and comparing them side by side, you can see how much it has changed. January 18, 2006 at 2:29pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Michel, for some reason your comment about Chanel and Balmain did not show up before. I agree with all of your points! And yes, even big and successful houses can reformulate badly.

    Arpege was reformulated when it was re-released after not being available for a while. Indeed, even when it was still available, starting in the 60s or so, the quality began to decrease, therefore many of the vintage EDT are simply not good. For the re-release, the house decided to add some modern touches to Arpege, to make it feel more in sync with the tastes of the day, however it was decided that its character has to be retained. And I think that the result is very successful. January 18, 2006 at 3:47pm Reply

  • carmencanada: Dear V., curiosity and greed got the best of me and I’ve purchased Jolie Madame in the EdT (the only available version in France). I find she’s Bandit’s well-behaved, well-married younger sister — still the leather drydown is quite charmingly roguish on my skin and I’m not sorry I bought it. For the days when I simply can’t live to up to Bandit or Mitsouko… February 7, 2006 at 3:10pm Reply

  • carmencanada: Dear V., curiosity and greed got the best of me and I’ve purchased Jolie Madame in the EdT (the only available version in France). I find she’s Bandit’s well-behaved, well-married younger sister — still the leather drydown is quite charmingly roguish on my skin and I’m not sorry I bought it. For the days when I simply can’t live to up to Bandit or Mitsouko… February 7, 2006 at 3:10pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Unfortunately, the current version is completely blanched, so I find it difficult to compare to even what was sold a couple of years ago. I hope that you will receive the vintage one soon. 🙂 February 7, 2006 at 10:46pm Reply

  • Lola: I’ve just gotten a bottle of sealed and boxed vintage Jolie Madame. It should arrive in the next week or two. I have been bitten by the vintage classic perfume bug. It’s quite gamble to buy vintage, no? I hope I haven’t made a mistake being bitten by this bug. I love my perfumes as much as my handbags! January 7, 2007 at 2:56pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Lola, congratulations! The only downside of being bitten by the vintage bug is the expense. However, the joy of discovery more than compensates. January 8, 2007 at 2:13pm Reply

  • Dinah: I have just tonight put a bottle of vintage joli madame on Ebay.

    I have had this perfume since the early 70’s and can guarantee it is the real thing February 7, 2008 at 6:26pm Reply

  • Marie, the EpicureanPiranha: Dear Victoria

    I discovered your blog today and after reading though quite a few articles on perfumes & EDP’s I love or have loved (including the Jolie Madame vintage version which I adored!), I have to say I’m thrilled! Why? Because your poetic descriptions are not only beautifully written, but so very descriptive and accurate, and because your evaluations of scents I love or have loved (IE: vintage versions) is so in tune with my own (although I would struggle to find the words myself!).

    I’ve decided I must find a vintage bottle of Jolie Madame on the web… I just hope that if I do find one, it won’t have a prohibitive price tag and will still be wearable! Another Balmain scent I wore, and for which I received zillions of compliments from (handsome) men just walking by me, is Ivoire. This was in the early 80’s. In fact, the scents I’ve received the most compliments (and inquiries as to which perfume I was wearing) were Ivoire, Paloma Picasso, and Paris (mostly in EDP and perfume, except for Paris which I prefer in EDT. I’m a brunette with very dry skin, and many perfumes turn on me… but these scents, including several by Chanel, Hermes, Fragonard, Jean Patou, Rochas, Caron, l’Artisan Parfumeur, The Different Company, YSL, Bulgari, etc, smell beautiful on my skin. I love the chypre style of scent … but sadly, many of them fade too quickly on me (I do layer when I can, the perfumed lotion with the EDP, but the lotions aren’t always available).

    Anyway, now following you on Pinterest ~ as for me, I’m also very much into food (cooking, eating, photographing), travel, and all things aesthetic…. Do have a look at my pin boards as I suspect there may be a few that you’ll enjoy!

    Cheers from Montréal, Québec

    ~ marie May 20, 2012 at 12:23am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much for your kind words, Marie! I’m so glad to meet another fan of vintage perfumes (and of cooking!) Your Pinterest boards are beautiful. Can’t look at your cakes without getting hungry. 🙂

      Jolie Madame should still be possible to find, and the versions I’ve seen aren’t too expensive, so it’s worth a hunt. Hope that you will enjoy it as much as I do. May 20, 2012 at 10:10pm Reply

      • Marie, the EpicureanPiranha: Thanks so much Victoria! It’s great to know you are also a lover of food & I’m so happy that you like my food related pin boards. I just love the vintage version of Jolie Madame; I’ve never had the chance to sample the reworked version … but I’m sure it would greatly disappoint me. So many gorgeous scents have been reworked into horribly pale imitations … I’ve read through several of your articles as well as many other write-ups on vintage scents vs their new versions, so I understand the reason many of them have had to be reworked using new ingredients, but nevertheless, it is sad…

        Another positively gorgeous, distinctive scent I remember was “Je Reviens” from Worth. When I saw a bottle of this several years ago in England I was thrilled, until I smelled the sample bottle – dreadful! Apparently, there are several versions of the reworked version, one of which, the so-called “couture” version, has some resemblance to the original… perhaps you’ve reviewed it? In any case, I’m one of those who wishes perfume houses would try their hardest to remain true to vintage fragrances. Name & reputation alone won’t sell if the contents of the bottle is now dime-store stuff! There’s a fabulous review of the original “Je Reviens”, by someone who goes by the name: “le mouchoir de monsieur”, on Fragrantica.com (http://www.fragrantica.com/perfume/Worth/Je-Reviens-5130.html) which you may enjoy reading.

        Thanks again for taking the time to read and reply to my comment, Victoria!

        ~ marie May 21, 2012 at 12:26am Reply

  • Marie, the EpicureanPiranha: Oh dear – please forgive my typos & grammatical errors! It’s quite late (2:30 am) and I thought I could edit my reply after proof-reading it!

    ~ marie May 20, 2012 at 12:26am Reply

  • solanace: You said your first reaction to JM’s reformulation was of ‘intense disapointment’. Mine was of deep sorrow. It is really hard to watch art being destroyed before our eyes, and smelling what they did to Germaine Cellier’s work felt like watching the youtube videos of the giant Boudhas being exploded back in the day. Stupid, stupid men in charge! July 18, 2012 at 5:10am Reply

    • Victoria: A, and imagine that their head office is just a walking distance away from my apartment. 🙂 But I don’t blame the IFRA itself, they are just doing what they’ve been mandated to do. I blame the industry for not educating its consumers, customers and not speaking out. July 18, 2012 at 5:20am Reply

  • Lydelle: Wow, 6 years and still going. Fantastic posts, I’ve recently fallen in love with fragrance and am glad to have found this site. being that everyone is so knowledgeable I wanted to get a scent for my little sister and was thinking about Acqua Di Parma. August 15, 2012 at 6:28pm Reply

    • Victoria: Welcome, Lydelle! Acqua di Parma is a great cologne. Were you thinking about the original? I also love Iris Nobile, which is a soft orange blossom and iris perfume. I have a review in my archives. August 16, 2012 at 7:28am Reply

  • Elin: Hi Victoria, inspired by your great articles and perfumes I have just bought a small lot of vintage Balmain Eau de toilettes miniatures cheaply on eBay.

    They come in rounded top bottles with a dark cap, one empty (sadly!) Vent Vert, one quarter full Jolie Madame and one full Monsieur Balmain. Hopefully I will get to smell what Jolie Madame by Cellier smells like! Is there anything I can do to the empty Vent Vert bottle to produce a drop of scent? Just in case you know of such a trick..
    🙂 August 19, 2012 at 12:25pm Reply

    • Victoria: Can you put some vodka or Everclear in the bottle? Just 1/4 teaspoon would be enough. Close the bottle, shake it up and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. If there are some oils left, you might pick up some remnants. Hope that it works! Please let me know. August 19, 2012 at 3:53pm Reply

      • Elin: Thank you! I was so eager to ask, I haven’t even received them yet. I will try with a drop of vodka and come back to it here later. 😀 August 20, 2012 at 12:07pm Reply

  • Elin: I have received them now, and at first sniff I’m a little disappointed in the vintage eau de toilette Jolie Madame but blown away by the remnant smell of the empty vintage Vent Vert! I have now filled the bottle with a little vodka, a bit more than you said by accident. I was so pleased having figured out to fill it by sucking in some pure vodka with a cocktail straw and letting go I overfilled the small bottle, to about 1/3 full. I’ll leave it a couple of days and sniff and tell.

    I am trying to find out what note/ notes it is I can’t stand in perfumes and thought perhaps it was vetiver, but this leads me to believe it must be something else (I hope it’s something else). The guerlain grapefruit has got it though, something that turns horrible on me after a while and that I have smelled in Eau de colognes on some men. I lived one year in a small place (Kabelvåg Lofoten) where the lokal taxidriver made me nauseous with his cologne, he was such a sweet person but the smell made it a nightmare to need a taxi. September 3, 2012 at 6:22pm Reply

    • Victoria: I think that I know exactly the note you dislike–that mutant “lavender on steriods” and soapy citrus note that is a common stay in many masculine perfumes. It’s not used that much in the niche colognes, which is why many who hate the stereotypical masculine scents enjoy the colognes like Frederic Malle Cologne Bigarade.

      And so happy that Vent Vert has be resuscitated! Shake it time to time to dislodge any particles inside the bottle. September 4, 2012 at 5:39am Reply

  • Elin: If this Vent Vert experiment goes well and it is what I suspect a fragrance I’ll love, I will try to track down a vintage bottle with the perfume intact. My man thinks I’m starting to behave like Grenouille in Perfume, haha!

    You may be right about the harsh (almost gone off?) citrusy/ soapy lavender notes, but are they present in the Guerlain grapefruit perfume? The saleswoman had no idea what it could be when I tried it at a chain perfume store, it set in after the first fresh burst of grapefruit.

    I have wondered if it could be cumin, not the Indian cuminum cyminum but the carum carvi confusingly also called cumin which I don’t like in big quantities in food ( found in sauerkraut and some northern European bread types) but I don’t know if it’s used in perfume. September 4, 2012 at 6:18am Reply

  • Joy: I’m testing a decant from Surrender to Chance that’s supposed to be vintage Jolie Madame EdT. I have dry skin and scents tend to disappear quickly on me, but this was gone in a veritable flash–20 minutes at most. (I did two tests and got the same result.)

    For me it’s harsh floral/tobacco tobacco tobacco/barest hint of leather. :< October 27, 2012 at 10:36pm Reply

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